A Boat Trip Can Take Tourists to the Channel Islands of California
Santa Rosa Island is ringed by aquamarine waters and has a landscape rich with mountains, canyons, and hanging sea cliffs. In addition to the stunning views nature has provided, the island, which is the second largest in the Channel Islands National Park in California, is a place of archaeological intrigue. While digging in its Arlington Canyon in 1959, archaeologist Phillip Orr found two femora that seemed to date back to the late Pleistocene. After he brought them back to the mainland for examination, Orr did two more decades of fieldwork on Santa Rosa and excavated numerous graves, entire Chumash villages, middens, and even bones of pygmy mammoths that inhabited the island 10,000 years ago. Some 40 years after Orr discovered the human bones on the island, his successor, John R. Johnson, determined that they were more than 13,000 years old, making them the oldest human remains ever found in North America.
California Is Home to the Arlington Springs Man from Santa Rosa
The bones were called the Arlington Springs Man and support the theory of a coastal migration by people who came from Northeast Asia into the Americas. According to Johnson, this shows that for over 13,000 years, people on the continent weren’t all Clovis hunters, referencing people who hunted mammoths and migrated through the Bering Land Bridge when it was above water. Further examination showed that the relatives of modern-day Chumash were skilled boat makers, basket weavers, and fishers who lived in thriving villages throughout the region. They had a matrilineal society overseen by both male and female leaders.
A Trip to California’s Santa Rosa Island Is Always Worth It
Enthusiasts visiting Santa Rosa Island will find unique flora and fauna along the hiking trails, where they can gain a vivid understanding of the region’s deep Chumash culture and history and North American history as a whole. Today, there are 14 bands of Chumash Indians, with the federally recognized Santa Ynez Band being one of them. Former tribal chair Julie Tumamait-Stenslie suggests that the island should be viewed as a natural history museum. She also stresses that it’s important to remind people that the Chumash people are still there and caring for their culture. There are also many other bands that are currently seeking federal recognition.